North Korea launches investigation into sensitive leak by state security official

A Ministry of State Security office building in the border area of North Korea.
A Ministry of State Security office building in the border area of North Korea. Image: Daily NK

The North Korean authorities have issued an emergency directive to a border unit of the country’s Ministry of State Security to prevent internal information being leaked to the outside world. The directive warns of the possibility of information leakage from the local state security department, according to sources inside the country.

“In mid-June, a directive was issued to the Ministry of State Security in Hyesan ordering the strict prevention of information disclosure from the department. In particular, the directive highlights the issue of information being leaked by security officers, and ordered them to watch each other,” a source in Ryanggang Province told Daily NK.

“The directive also mentioned prior cases where security officers were caught using foreign-made cell phones to disclose secrets. It emphasized that the department needs to launch a strong internal struggle to prevent this kind of behavior.”

It is also being reported that the North Korean authorities are concerned about information being leaked through security officers’ families.

A separate source in Ryanggang Province reported that the directive completely prohibits family members of security officers from traveling to foreign countries, including China.

“The authorities believe that there is a high possibility that this contingent would leak sensitive information.”

However, it has not yet been confirmed whether such family members are banned from going overseas to earn foreign currency.

Recently, the North Korean authorities have launched an intense campaign to prevent internal information being leaked as local elections will soon take place to elect representatives.

Daily NK recently reported that earlier this month, in some border areas, a drill was held to practice the reporting of suspicious behavior. In May, a North Korean official delivered a lecture to residents about monitoring information leakage and enhanced reporting.

The North Korean authorities also used the directive to highlight the problem of corruption in the Ministry of State Security.

“The security officers were called out for releasing those who had illegally crossed the river after receiving bribes,” said the initial source.

“The directive emphasizes the necessity of an uncompromising struggle against corruption.”